Geopolitical Feedback Loops in Resource and Oil Depletion

This is a repost of an article that ran a few weeks ago. It was linked to by Professor Deffeyes, so it seemed a good time to bring it forward again.

It is quite common to hear experts explain that the current tight oil markets are due to “above-ground factors,” and not a result of a global peaking in oil production. In reality, geological peaking is driving the geopolitical events that constitute the most significant “above-ground factors” such as the chaos in Iraq and Nigeria, the nationalization in Venezuela and Bolivia, etc. Geological peaking spawns positive feedback loops within the geopolitical system. Critically, these loops are not separable from the geological events—they are part of the broader “system” of Peak Oil.

Existing peaking models are based on the logistic curves demonstrated by past peaking in individual fields or oil producing regions. Global peaking is an entirely different phenomenon—the geology behind the logistic curves is the same, but global peaking will create far greater geopolitical side-effects, even in regions with stable or rising oil production. As a result, these geopolitical side-effects of peaking global production will accelerate the rate of production decline, as well as increase the impact of that production decline by simultaneously increasing marginal demand pressures. The result: the right side of the global oil production curve will not look like the left…whatever logistic curve is fit to the left side of the curve (where historical production increased), actual declines in the future will be sharper than that curve would predict.

Here are five geopolitical processes, each a positive-feedback loop, and each an accelerant of declining oil production:

1. Return on Investment: Increased scarcity of energy, as well as increased prices, increase the return on investment for attacks that target energy infrastructure. Whether the actor is an ideologically driven group (al-Qa’ida), or a privateer (youth gangs in the Niger Delta), the geologically-driven declines increase the ROI for attacks on energy, which will drive both decisions to act, as well as targeting decisions for that action. This is a positive feedback-loop because attacks on energy infrastructure and supply drive up the price, which further increases the ROI for such attacks. John Robb has calculated the Return on Investment for the most recent bombings of oil and natural gas pipelines in Mexico this September at as high as 1.4 million percent.

2. Mercantilism: To avoid the dawning “bidding cycles” between crude oil price increases and demand destruction, Nation-States are increasingly returning to a mercantilist paradigm on energy. This is the attitude of “there isn’t enough of it to go around, and we can’t afford to pay the market price, so we need to lock up our own supply.” Whether it’s the direction of a pipeline flow out of Central Asia, defending only specified sea lanes, or influencing an occupied nation’s laws on Production Sharing Agreements, there are signs of a new energy mercantilism all around us. This is a positive feedback-loop because, like an iterated “prisoner’s dilemma” game, once one power adopts or intensifies a mercantilist attitude all others must follow suit or lose energy share. It will act to accelerate oil production declines because mercantilism prevents the most economically efficient production of a resource, accelerating the underlying problem of diminishing marginal returns. This issue of energy mercantilism has recently hit the headlines again with the intensification of the race by several nations to to lay claim to the Arctic with its uncertain but possibly vast oil and gas potential.

3. “Export-Land” Model: Jeffrey Brown (westexas on The Oil Drum), has proposed a geopolitical feedback loop that he calls the export-land model (most recently discussed in his Iron Triangle post). In a regime of high or rising prices, a state’s existing oil exports brings in great revenues, which trickles into the state’s economy, and leads to increasing domestic oil consumption. This is exactly what is happening in most oil exporting states. The result, however, is that growth in domestic consumption reduces oil available for export. In states, such as Mexico, where oil production is also in decline, the “export-land” model predicts that oil exports will decline much faster than oil production—and this is exactly what is happening, with the latest PEMEX report showing 5% production decline year-on-year, but 11% export decline.

4. Nationalism: Because our Westphalian system is fundamentally broken, the territories of nations and states are rarely contiguous. As a result, it is often the case that a nation is cut out of the benefits from its host state’s oil exports. This will be especially apparent when the “export-land” effect reduces the total size of the pie to be divided. As a result, nations or sectarian groups within states will increasingly agitate for a larger share of the pie. We see this already within Iraq, Iran (Khuzestan), Nigeria (Delta State), Bolivia (indigenous groups), even places not normally associated with oil production such as Nagaland in India. This process will continue the spread and advancement of the tactics of infrastructure disruption, as well as desensitize energy firms to ever greater rents for the security of their facilities and personnel--both of which will drive the next loop…

5. Privateering: Nationalist insurgencies and economies ruined by the downslide of the “export-land” effect will leave huge populations with no conventional economic prospects. High oil prices, and the willingness to make high protection payments, will drive those people to become energy privateers. We are seeing exactly this effect in Nigeria, where a substantial portion of the infrastructure disruption is no longer carried out by politically-motivated insurgents, but by profit-motivated gangs. This is the ultimate positive feedback-loop: infrastructure disruption further degrades any remnants of a legitimate economy, increasing the incentive to engage in energy Privateering, and compensating for any diminishing marginal returns in Privateering caused by enhanced security or competition from other privateers.

We may see some or all of these effects in any given area, and are already seeing this in some trouble spots. Some states, like Iraq, have been thrown into full-fledged “Nationalism” and “Privateering”-driven geopolitical disruption by the actions of an outside power—in this case, the US invasion was itself largely the byproduct of a shift towards energy mercantilism. This is just one illustration of the synergistic interrelationship of these processes.

The big-picture effect of these geopolitical feedback-loops is this:

Peak Oil theory takes the logistic curve decline of oil from individual fields and producing regions and extrapolates those effects to the world. The result of that extrapolation is that world oil production will follow a geologically-driven logistic curve, and that it will peak and decline in a manner similar to individual fields or producing regions. The decline of a logistic curve gradually tails of in a "long tail" of oil production. The result is a phrase that has become virtual dogma: "Peak Oil is not the end of oil production, but rather the beginning of an inexorable decline in production." Geopolitical positive feedback-loops, however, do not act like logistic curves. They are positive feedback loops that are both self-intensifying and intensified by geologically-driven declines in production. While the geologically-dictated baseline in oil production decline may exhibit a long tail of ongoing production, geopolitical forces may abruptly chop off that tail. Commercial oil production requires some threshold level of security, rule of law, etc. to operate at all. Below that threshold, oil production does not gradually decline, but rather stops completely. Will geopolitical forces, combined with geologically-driven decline, be sufficient to bring oil production to a total halt in the near-term, at least regionally?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So you get a lot of black swan events that crashes the system like on Wall Street, in one region after another(mexican bombings, gulf hurricanes, refinery fires, Iraq wars, attacks on Iran, civil war and insurgency in Nigeria, depletion everywhere) and that cumulates unitl it is a global disarray and the basis of civilization has to be rethought away from FF and globalization and unipolar Petrodollar/usmilitary hegemony.

“Without a video the people perish”-Is. 13:24

Black Swan events probably should be classified as unexpected positive feedback loops that grow rapidly.

In stressed/strained systems the probability of couplings and forces forming to create conditions for a black swan event increase.

Think about adding more and more weight to a sheet of glass or ice as the system becomes more strained its obvious the chance of cracking gets higher and higher even though the actual way the ice cracks cannot be predicted.

Good metaphor!

It is a good metaphor and made me think of the lakes in the BC Coastal Mountains compared to Eastern Canada where lakes tend to freeze over and then it snows on top of the ice. One steps on the snow and bottoms out when ones feet hit the ice. Higher up in the BC Coastal Mts, the snow amounts on average are about 5 times higher. So when it snows on the these lakes, 1-3feet at a time, the weight of the snow pushes the ice down below the water level. Walking on fresh snow on these lakes can be very disconcerting, when your foot prints start filling with water. Depending on the amount of new snow and its weight sometimes you can sink up to your waste in slush and then bottom out on the ice below. No I have never heard of anyone drowning or dieing from hypothermia in this situation. But one could easily panic and die of a fear induced heart attack.

It just goes to show that when you are experiencing something new, one can only speculate based on past experience and of course, don't panic. Again, a great metaphor!

Nice extension it shows how the situation can appear quite complex. And in your example its not even clear where the ice level is.
But at the end of the day the issue is when is the ice going to break.

Since we are talking about ice you can see that the same concept applies to the melting in the arctic. The models assumed a gradual strain/stress relationship with steady melting. The system in reality had fracture points.

It seems to make more sense to instead assume that the system has stress/strain fracture points then figure out when they would be triggered. For melting ice it makes sense given the currents etc that ice less than a meter thick would fragment so the models should have gone non-linear at that point.

Another example is the melting of the Greenland ice cap. It makes sense to assume once say enough meltwater is available to lift 10% of the cap the system is susceptible to collapse although to my knowledge no model include this mechanical collapse situation even though we have seen it in action.

Looking at oil supply the system its obvious that now that supplies are tight the system is strained and breakdown events become increasingly probable.

And of course any "event" will lead to a lot of other feedback loops getting triggered.

I used to work on something called schocastic resonance.

Cracking under strain is probably a stochastic resonance condition.
What this means is that strained systems are really undergoing vibrations which drive any resonators in the system. This driven coupling leads to feedback then highly non-linear ( explosive) behavior.

Thus stressed complex systems are full of both vibration modes and oscillators that are driven by the vibrations and subject to feedback.


Hello ChrisN,

IMO, it is easily feasible to have 'induced-black swan events', or what I prefer to call them is 'Societal Liebig Minimums', that will generally not be perceived as such by the general global public, or ignored/denied by most.

Recall my postings on Asimov's Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline judiciously applied under the doctrine of the porridge principle of metered decline.

Again, IMO, this provides the optimal paradigm shift as we winnow out billions through the Dieoff Bottleneck. Can you think of a better method to jumpstart Peak Outreach and the conversion to the sequential building of biosolar habitats?
Can you think of a better way to roll back the planetary petri dish clock from 11:59.99 to approx. 11:30 or even earlier?
Conditions worsen in Gaza as Israel tightens grip

My hope is that the TopTODers can really investigate & expand upon my crude text writings. Just imagine what we could do with a very large supercomputer cluster, plus bleeding edge science & logistics modeling software.

Matt's LATOC has had numerous past articles on military, government, think-tank, and scientific institutional simulation runs on various scenarios. My guess is that this is just the 10% unclassified tip of the iceberg vs. the 90% of the hidden or submerged classified modeling runs. Who knows?

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, you're clearly deep into the theory of collapse, and sometimes I struggle just to wade through the concepts. I get your ambition, but somehow I doubt that we're going to get through it by any preconceived methodology or theory or managed process.

Liebig's observation was descriptive, not proscriptive, right? Our planetary petri dish is going to do its thing and there's not a whole lot that can be done about it consciously, IMHO. Substitute "planet Earth" for your "very large supercomputer cluster, plus bleeding edge science & logistics modeling software" and I'm with ya.

Perhaps Douglas Adams was right: We are that supercomputer, all trying to calculate the greatest answer to the greatest question (which turns out to be 42, if memory serves).

Energy consultant, writer, blogger

Hello ChrisN,

Thxs for responding. The basic operating mode of Foundation is to let Mother Nature and human nature take its pounds of flesh, but attempt to steer this mode in desired directions by constantly tweaking or ignoring developing trends for optimum effect and control.

For example:
Atlanta Urinals, Fountain Run Dry as UPS, Coke Fight Drought
All these water conservation measures should be expected, and I hope the SE drastically raises potable water prices to promote further water savings combined with Humanure done on a huge municipal scale.

But if things continue to get worse: what is the next step?

Recall my speculative FEMA plan to start relocating SouthEasterners to a rehabilitated Detroit and other areas along the Great Lakes [a tweaking mitigation to reduce possible building blowbacks]. Now I have no idea [need a supercomputer to analyze, or an inside source] if FEMA prefers this possible tweaking, or prefers to 'purposely ignore' the situation, thus accelerating the natural growth of cascading blowbacks. I can't imagine FEMA not being aware of possible SE drought consequences; they have no excuse, no credibility to say the drought 'caught' them unprepared, if the worst comes to pass. Their mission statement clearly requires them to be prepared for such eventualities.

Consider the widely recognized, elevated risk profile of Nawlins and other outlying areas before Katrina: was the situation 'purposely ignored' by the Corps of Eng., and other govt and insurance entities that could have easily forced early abandonment, or the building of heavily reinforced levees, and/or low-level land infill much earlier?

Consider the long, global history of civilizational and ecological Overshoot & Decline, clearly understood by leaders since Malthusian effects were clearly delineated over two hundred years ago: the topdogs, if desired, could have mitigated this long ago by universal outreach [hell, they still could get started today!], but I believe they have other plans. They too have no excuse for plausible deni-ability--thus, that is why I see so much Foundation implementation when I examine the news. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Everything will be just fine, the automakers are coming out with electrical cars soon. And that will solve both Peak Oil and Global warming, and the US won´t attack Iran and start the WWIII. -:)

Like cool dude. Pass the bong so I can get stoned with you. :)))

“Without a video the people perish”-Is. 13:24

"Like cool dude"
I like that hahaha.

I presume you are making a weak attempt at sarcastic humor.

You assume George Bush is sane and will act rationally. Maybe or maybe not.

So far it looks like oil production has hit a wall and is unlikely to go much higher. This means that our energy income is fixed, about ready to decline, so where is the energy going to come from to creating these electric cars and to build and operate the extra electric generating infrastructure?

Taking a few aspirin does not cure cancer.

You're kiddin right? I mean, you don't know the size of the world's current manufacturing capacity? Put it this way: it has never been so high (forget WW2). So even if you dent it a little, all it takes is concentration of efforts.

all it takes is concentration of efforts

That sounds like a planned economy, and that is communism!

Doing a back of a napkin calculation, maybe there are 600 million motor vehicles in operation around the world and maybe 30 million are produced annually, meaning it would take 20 years production to replace all these. That assumes that magically, all the motor vehicle manufacturing facilities could be converted and additional facilities could be created to manufacture the batteries. All this takes energy and it would take several years to ramp up, even if there was a will to do so or a market for these vehicles. How many auto buyers are going to be willing to pay the extra price they would be forced to pay? And if you look at some studies, electric cars are not really net energy savers when compared to even a Hummer because the higher amount of energy required to create and maintain electric cars, batteries, and some sort of "refueling infrastructure" is not offset by the fuel savings. Electric cars may well just be another boondoggle like ethanol, maybe worse.

In my estimation, by 2020 the USA which imports 60% of the oil it uses, and Japan which imports close to 100%, two big auto manufacturers, will not be able to import much oil because exporting nations post 2011 peak will likely not have much excess to export. Where does that leave all this current vehicle manufacturing capacity? With the current electric generating capacity it is questionable that there is sufficient generating capacity to even keep the present demand supplied, much less meet the demands of electric cars.

Electric cars are going to be a challenge. To replace all gasoline/diesel vehicles with electric is probably unrealistic. Firstly, where does the electricity come from to charge the batteries? No doubt, from a power station near you, likely a coal, NG or oil fired plant. These contribute heavily to global warming by the way. And these are the resources in decline in the first place. Maybe not so much with coal but its 'peak moment' is coming. The batteries in these electric cars poses a big problem, they are made with materials that are both toxic and increasingly rare. Cars themselves take huge amounts of energy to produce. What I see is a significantly scaled-back post-industrial society with very few cars and lots of passenger trains and light rail and lots and lots of bicycles and pedestrians! The ultimate answer to urban sprawl and urban waist sprawl. A leaner society in more ways than one.

Hmmm. WEEELL, if we somehow SAVE POWER by not creating those pesky ICE engines, and then SAVE SOME MORE POWER by not using OIL at ALL in that ABSENT gas tank, you know, the GAS that *hahumm* contributes to GW, perhaps the total ammount of power is even LESS than what's used right NOW.

The real question is not the quantity of energy that is used. It is not that really big ammount. You are already manufacturing what, hundreds of thousands of cars every month? The real question is: is it feasible and economical? Will the bureocracy go against it? Will the big corporations be against it until it is too late to do anything about it? Do we have TIME to retrofit it?

I don't think PO marks the point of SHittinTF.

The US car market is 16 million vehicles a year. The worldwide car market is 30 million pieces. Someone is starting to sell a $6000 car in India so I expect volumes (but not necesarily sales) to double in the next generation.

All that energy will come from the sun. Because the sun is the only low entropy source of new energy we have.

Electric vehicles have their drawbacks but when the alternative is pushing your ICE, it sounds pretty good. There's a thousand different battery chemistries out there. Some with rarer metals than others but we can always make a battery. Your ICE has toxic materials in it. Just don't let your cat nibble on the lead acid battery.


I haven't escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

We aren't going to run out of sodium and sulfur, but since the sodium sulfur battery runs at pretty high temperature you are going to need to haul around a lot of volume and mass to keep it warm.
Figure one ton for the car, one ton for the passengers and groceries, one ton for the battery, and one ton for enough extra car to haul around the battery. Eight Wheel Drive!
And it still beats walking to work.

All battery chemistries have drawback. We can use sodium-sulfer if we run out of better materials. The battery will keep itself warm. We only have to preheat it to start.

Out of the 20 trillion dollars it will cost us to transition to the new age economy, we can budget a hundred billion to get an asteroid. Then we'll have all the nickel for all the batteries we'll ever want.


I haven't escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

It was sarcastic humor from me, But not 100%. Electrical cars could replace a part but how much? of our transportation needs. Then the problem with charging of batteries depends in which country you live in. Some countrys have electrical production without fossil fuel plants, and there should not be any big problems(charge at nights).

Then how many batteries we can produce in the future sure is a big Q-mark.

Either way i am not so doomerish as many folks on this site. I believe we will manage with only about 50% die-off for the world as a whole, and less for sparsely populated countrys with nuclear and hydro electrical production. But of cource this is only my optimistic hypotesis without any scientific background whatsoever.

It sure will be interesting to follow the events forward.

Recently read an article in one of our car magazines that basically said: "Oh, the oil will be gone in 50 years but then we'll be all driving electric cars. You will hear electric powered Ferraris buzzing around. Of course, that sound wouldn't be so exciting as present sound of V12 engine.."

Obviously, car worshippers also have faith in electricity to bail us out. But, will there be enough power plants to provide all that needed electricity (homes, industry, rail, cars,..)? I recall reading on TOD about how many nukes or coal/gas plants should be built to substitute oil usage in transportation, the number was quite impressive. Not to mention uranium or NG/coal depletion.

Voice from the country of two lane highways and still inflating housing bubble

so doomerish as many folks on this site. I believe we will manage with only about 50% die-off

Yea, what with 'total global nuke war' as an entry - you are a ray-o-sunshine lighting up the bucket of hope.

Yeah. My brother is starting to come around sort of and talks Toyota Prius is the answer and how good it is that Germany has done so much with solar(I live in Germany and he in Alaska so he wants to sound openminded and informed to me). People don't get the big picture. He always say "in 50 years".

“Without a video the people perish”-Is. 13:24

"What I see is a significantly scaled-back post-industrial society with very few cars and lots of passenger trains and light rail and lots and lots of bicycles and pedestrians! The ultimate answer to urban sprawl and urban waist sprawl. A leaner society in more ways than one." I think I agree with most of that statement except for the part about a post industrial society. Different industrial processes certainly but there will be industry.

And on a related note, check out this post by David Strahan yesterday & its link to an interview with Sadad al-Husseini. Excerpt:

Oil production has peaked, prices to soar - Sadad al-Huseini

Sadad al-Huseini says that global production has reached its maximum sustainable plateau and that output will start to fall within 15 years, by which time the world’s oil resources will be “very severely depleted”.

In an exclusive interview with, the former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, said that oil production had reached a structural ceiling determined by geology rather than geopolitics, and that the technical floor for the oil price will rise by $12 annually for the next 4 to 5 years as new fields become increasingly costly to exploit.


Energy consultant, writer, blogger

Buy the rumour, sell the news.

I'd say his reputation is equal to Ted Exxon.

Noone will believe in him.

I don't. I really don't expect a 15 year plateau at all.

Well, that wasn't a completely accurate representation of his comments, which were thoroughly hedged & qualified. that 15-year plateau was really his best-case scenario. Check out the interview.
Energy consultant, writer, blogger

...well I'm glad someones put an exact price on the upcoming rise. All I usually read round here is speculation... ;o)


yeah, and 12$ a year. This year alone it rose what? 40, 50 dollars?

Does anyone know if a comparitive value of oil (energy) from different sources has been done. So the true value of a barrel can be simply understood. 250 billion barrels from the Arctic Sea compared to the same from the Canadian tar sands compared to the Middle East. No two barrels have the same end value, right!

Boomy, its done all the time. When an operator sells crude its generally from a differential with a commonly purchased local crude based on gravity, asphalt or parafin content, and sulfur. The adjustment is made by the purchaser, and it pays to pay attention.
Bob Ebersole

We are also facing a sort of peak technology situation.

This focus on oil extraction technology and its effects.
And more important the effect of slowing advances and returns on technical investments.

As responses point out the returns on technology measured by a number of means have slowed dramatically over the last 40 years.

Another example of the concept is medical care we made huge advances from the 1920-1960 solving problems with infectious diseases polio for example. Since then its fairly obvious that the number of people saved by modern medicine has declined dramatically.

So if you consider dollar spend on R&D, hospitals equipment etc you will see that we have effectively plateaued on investment vs returns for health care. In the US its probably even declined since we don't have universal health care.

This has lead to health care focusing on the needs of the rich and famous and designer drugs for things like erection problems. Now we have made a lot of advances so I'm not being dismissive of the fight against cancer or childhood diseases. At that level you can't put a price on saving a life. But on the same hand you can easily account for cost and benefit and its obvious that we have for the most part reached maximum benefit from medical advances. Now these benefit's are not equally dispersed but thats a closely related but different problem of inability to distribute technology.

So we face two problems across almost all of our society.

1.) Technical advances provide lower and lower GROI ( goodness returned on investment)
2.) Costs/Infrastructure requirements are high for the latest technologies and they are difficult to export or deploy widely.

The assertion is that the oil industry also faces this problem.

It's really an energy and human resources allocation problem. Only by being dismissive at the economy throughout the 21st century one could say such bad things about medicine. There is nothing like permanent stagnation in scientific progress in an elightenment world. For if you believe there is, then forgive us God, for Prometheus' fire is just runnin' out, let's just simply vote for Bush and wait for eight years without any funding on human genes and cut the funds to sciences, so we can definitely call stagnancy on science Oh wait...

"There is nothing like permanent stagnation in scientific progress in an elightenment world"

Was 1970 the year of "Peak Science?"

David Goldstein, NCAR 48 Symposium, 19994

The Big Crunch

"... Peer review is thus one among many examples of practices that were well suited to the time of exponential expansion , but will become increasinly dysfunctional in the difficult future we face..."

Let me finish by summarizing what I've been trying to tell you. We stand at an historic juncture in the history of science. The long era of exponential expansion ended decades ago, but we have not yet reconciled ourselves to that fact. The present social structure of science, by which I mean institutions, education, funding, publications and so on all evolved during the period of exponential expansion, before The Big Crunch. They are not suited to the unknown future we face. Today's scientific leaders, in the universities, government, industry and the scientific societies are mostly people who came of age during the golden era, 1950 - 1970. I am myself part of that generation. We think those were normal times and expect them to return. But we are wrong. Nothing like it will ever happen again. It is by no means certain that science will even survive, much less flourish, in the difficult times we face. Before it can survive, those of us who have gained so much from the era of scientific elites and scientific illiterates must learn to face reality, and admit that those days are gone forever.

I think we have our work cut out for us.


There are feedbacks of another sort as well. During the oil shocks, consumption reduced substantially and took a while to climb back up. Decisions to conserve can be geopolitical calculations. I think I'll likely volunteer at the Power Shift 07 conference in College Park, MD this weekend. I suspect that this conference may be a watershed in moving to much less oil use.


Hi Jeff,

Don't really agree with your view on globalism and nation.

Nations have increasingly lost control over many internal matters, trade and, finance to name the obvious two. Those matters have increasingly become the purview of corporate elites. This may result in a world nation state but it would be a totalitarian corporate run nation state.

Terrorism is merely a reaction to globalization, not a nice one but an understandable reaction to any tyranny, even a fuzzy bunny (with nasty small and sharp teeth) corporate one .

Thanks again for your insight into the geopolitical information on the peak. I feel really lucky to be given your insights.

In the United States our government seems to be rapidly decending into paralysis just as real leadership is needed. Its become extremely obvious to me taht the baby boom generation has kept the babies and wasted the bathwater, that we are going to have to rely on local and individual action because we can't count on even much publicity for public actions. So, I'm in the process of paying off my mortgage and working on my own oil deals.

It seems obvious to me that the multinational oil company model of Exploration and Production is just about finished. Because of the way in which the majors add overhead while seldom reducing their overhead or changing their models, the big US companies like ExxonMobil, ChevronTexasco and ConocoPhillips require a steady diet of giant and super giant fields, and were nearly out areas to explore. Even if the government adds the offshore areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and offshore the West Coast, the effectiveness of the new exploration techniqes leads to the conclusion that the new areas will be pretty well explored for the giant field areas in short order. If they were very promising they would have had good results in nearshore waters before the late 1970's. The only exception of course being the southern and mid California waters.

The majors pretty well committed suicide by using the US government to back up its foreign concessions. After the Marines held Vera Cruz during the 1920's and 1930's the Mexicans made it unconstitutional for any foreign oil company to lease and operate in Mexico. And thsi was followed up by numerous abuses backed by the US gunboats, coups in Indonesia,Ecuador, Iran, Venezuela. The southeast asian antipathy caused by the Vietnam war, the embargos for many years against the Soviet Union and the Cubans all have lead to the point where 88% of the potential offshore areas of the world are out of bounds to American and European countries, but that's a conclusion that is never drawn by our press or histories. Even if the requisite number of super-giant oilfields are there, the big guys aren't going to be allowed near them to produce hydrocarbons. It took the rest of the world a while to learn, but the did learn that much, hence Chavez and Morales. I'm just amazed that the people in the US haven't drawn the same conclusion. We must be asleep.

Still, there's lots of things that can and should be done as individuals to ward off the worst of the problems. The quicker we can get to a personal goal of electric transportation, the less vulnerable we will each be individually. So, get a hybrid and an all electric scooter. Get solar panels and personal wind. Your return on investment is going to be infinite when the gasoline rationing starts and you can get around while the rest of the world is having trouble. Cut down on your personal electrical useage, and insulate. Plant the flower beds with attractive vegetables, put in good varieties of fruit and nuts for your area and take out non-edible landscaping. Don't forget containers for the paved areas, and plastic taks to catch the roof water and gray water. Only use one bathroom for feces, and route the rest of the water from bathrooms and sinks to keep the compost heap damp and the garden irrigated. There's a good chance you are letting a couple of acres worth of irrigation water go into your city sewer.

And, get a real job or skills if you need to hustle as the economy falls apart . There are going to be a lot of little jobs putting in solar systems, ect.

But mostly, get to know your neighbors and friends. Good allies will really make a difference in how you feel and adjust to all of this. They'll watch your back when the cops are using their fuel to protect the rich and shake down merchants for doughnuts.
.Bob Ebersole

hello Memmel

I have read your comments for a while. You sure are a perma doomer dude. Hope you are not right, but who knows?


And right now I live just south of Los Angeles in one of the places just about everyone figures will have a real hard time post peak.

The point of my posts is that I really see no reason that we are not facing a fairly fast collapse probably over a period of less than ten years. Once you consider all the variables the probability of a fast collapse is very high say 80%. I actually think 90%. Even if I'm only partially right the only way to prevent a collapse is rapid electrification of transport and moves to renewable resources like wind and solar and and aggressive nuclear campaign we need it all its not time to be picky.

So I only need be reasonably right about collapse to prove the only solution to prevent collapse is an aggressive transition campaign.

I believe we no longer have a choice its change or die.
From what I can tell any middle road solution is simply wishful thinking with zero facts supporting a slow decline vs a wealth of information and reasonable models and history that support the certain collapse of civilizations under stress.

Unfortunately I don't think we have the time left to change.

Unfortunately, what you say makes sence. But everything seems so OK and normal just now. I guess it could change rapidly to the worse WTSHTF.